A final stakeholder consultation meeting was conducted on drafting a National Child Policy led by National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC). NCWC initiated drafting National Child Policy with fund support from UNICEF.
The concept note on National Child Policy was approved by Lhengye Zhungtshog in 30 April 2019. The National Child Policy will establish a coherent strategic policy framework (that is non-existent presently) for the promotion of child wellbeing and protection in the country.
The very intention of this policy are to create an environment for child’s wellbeing and participation in decision making whereby access and utilization of basic social services will be enhanced through this policy.
The policy will also advocate and promote children as an important factor for ensuring a sustainable future.
Ugyen Tshomo, Officiating Director for NCWC shared that the proposed policy will aim to prioritize the establishment of a body with special responsibilities for the provision of services for children and their families.
She said, “It also aims at reviewing and drafting of relevant acts and regulations to integrate child wellbeing and rights issues. Build capacity among the institutions and public officials to understand and undertake planning and implementation of child related programs and projects.”
The policy also aims to promote social change to reduce the prevalence of Violence against Children and development and implementation of mechanism aimed at child responsiveness in all aspects of public policy, planning, programming and service delivery.
Likewise, she said that the policy aims at lot of things which would address and protect child related issues. They also aim to develop a national strategy to counter peer violence, bullying and corporal punishment in all settings.
She said, “The policy will not encounter huge additional costs. While it may call for government resource allocation, including human resources, over the longer term, the social benefits will outweigh such short and mid-term financial costs.”
The policy, if approved, she said that will endeavor to reach out to all people in the society, which can result in informed, educated and valued societies.
“We expect a validated draft strategy and action plan and get expert opinion on the strategies, outcomes, outputs and activities to produce a do-able strategy and action plan, and ensure its smooth and successful implementation,” she added.
Meanwhile, an official from NCWC said that this policy takes a rights-based approach focusing on the four principles of right to health and survival, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene, right to education and development, right to protection and right to participation, within the framework of inclusion and non-discriminatory approach.
They have drafted numerous policy statements under each pillar whereby the participants from relevant stakeholders raised their issues and concerns giving them the room to revisit and make changes accordingly.
The participants emphasized on the need of importance of having sex education in schools and the mandate they see in including it in a curriculum. They also suggested if the parents of the children can also be advocated so as to get a support from parents.
In addition, the participants also raised an issue of importance and need of consideration to have an easy access to higher education for those children who comes into conflict with law.
There were discussions on health, issues on child disabilities, monastic education, corporal punishment in schools and monasteries, easy access to education, irrespective of who the children is and more.
They will further discuss the draft National Child Policy and then to submit the final version to GNHC through which it will be forwarded to cabinet for adoption, the official added.